Oh, Keanu, I love you buddy, but for every John Wick or The Matrix, you always seem to find a way to challenge our faith in you by showing up in movies like Replicas. A poorly written, directed, and acted mess, that dangles some interesting science fiction concepts like the proverbial carrot, only to sucker audiences into wasting good cash on badly thought out pablum.
From the director of nothing worth mentioning, and the writer of such “classics” as London Has Fallen and Peppermint. Replicas tells the story of Dr. Will Foster, a neural scientist working on a way to transfer minds into robotic bodies. While on vacation, his family is killed in a car accident, so he decides to use his scientific know-how to make backups of their brains, while cloning up replacement bodies in his garage.
There’s so much awful to unpack here, and I think I’ve already got a contender for my top five worst movies of 2019. The story frequently doesn’t make sense, the visual effects are not even on par with an episode of Doctor Who, and the stilted delivery of the dialogue is, at times, unbearable. You’d almost believe this was everyone’s first acting gig, the performances are that bad.
Not helping is the weak script, and the contrived plot twists to inject drama into the story. There are a slew of continuity problems in this film too. Fellow scientist, Ed (Thomas Middleditch) tells Will there are only three pods when he needed four. Meaning Dr. Foster has to decide which of his kids he won’t bring back. A tough call to be sure, but also needless as the next day Ed walks into his lab and what do we see? Pods, lots and lots of freaking pods!
This film is full of examples like that, and ideas left unexplored like hanging chads. Keanu is to acting as a jigsaw piece is to a puzzle. When he fits correctly you get movies like Speed, when he doesn’t, you get films like Johnny Mnemonic or Exposed. Here’s hoping he continues to be an essential piece of the excellent John Wick puzzle. Chapter 3 will be in theaters May 17th.
Starring: Alice Eve, Keanu Reeves, Emily Alyn Lind, Thomas Middleditch, John Ortiz, Emjay Anthony
Directed by: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Screenplay by: Chad St. John
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hr 47 min.